Truck accidents are override accidents if all or part of a commercial truck rides over a car or motorcycle. A large truck riding over the back of a passenger car can result in catastrophic or even fatal injuries to the person in the passenger car. Due to the size difference between the passenger car and the tractor trailer, a truck driver can walk away from an override accident without suffering a scratch, but people in the smaller vehicle may be crushed or suffer lifelong injuries. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in an override accident, you should consult the Syracuse truck accident lawyers at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano.Pursuing Compensation for an Override Accident
Override accidents happen when a truck driver runs over a smaller vehicle in front of them. (In contrast, underride accidents occur when a smaller vehicle rear-ends an 18-wheeler or another commercial truck and slides under it, getting stuck under its back end.) To establish a truck driver's liability for an override accident, you will most likely need to show that the truck driver had a duty to drive safely but did not, causing the accident and your injuries.
Generally, all truck drivers owe a duty of care to drive safely under the circumstances, taking into account traffic conditions and weather. Various actions by a truck driver may be a breach of the duty to use reasonable care, including tailgating or otherwise following too closely, failing to yield the right of way, and speeding. If these actions by the truck driver cause an override accident and injuries, you should be able to establish causation and damages.
Sometimes a truck driver's liability insurance is insufficient to cover all of the damages in an accident. It is important to be able to hold an employer accountable for its employee's negligent actions. You can hold a truck driver's employer indirectly liable for an employee's negligent acts and omissions in the scope of employment. For example, if a truck driver is hauling cargo and is in a hurry to meet a deadline, so he tries to cross on a yellow light that is turning red, the car in front of him may stop suddenly. The truck might ride over the car while trying to brake in time, and the employer may be indirectly liable under the doctrine of respondeat superior, or vicarious liability.
If the truck driver is not in the scope of employment, it may still be possible to hold an employer liable under a theory of direct negligence, such as negligent hiring and retention, or negligent supervision. For example, if an interstate truck driver falsifies the hours of service in his logbooks, and he is so fatigued that he cannot react to the car braking in front of him, our attorneys could explore the extent to which the employer knew or should have known that the driver was falsifying his hours of service. Under federal regulations, trucking employers are supposed to supervise employees in connection with their log books to make sure that they are following hours of service rules. An employer whose failure to provide appropriate supervision allows a truck driver to be on the road, endangering others, may be negligent.
A truck driver is not always fully responsible for an accident. For example, a driver of a passenger car whose brake light is out may have contributed to the cause of an override accident. In New York, a plaintiff's damages can be reduced if the jury finds that they were partially to blame. The jury will assign a percentage of fault, and the plaintiff's damages will be reduced by an amount equal to their fault. There may also be room to explore joining other possible defendants, such as a manufacturer, when the override is a result of brake failure, a tire blowout, or some other mechanical problem.Retain a Knowledgeable Motor Vehicle Collision Lawyer in the Syracuse Area
If you are harmed due to an override accident, our attorneys may be able to help you recover damages from responsible parties. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents people injured in complex truck accidents in Syracuse, Rochester, Binghamton, Auburn, Elmira, Norwich, Cortland, Delhi, Herkimer, Watertown, Lowville, Oneida, Wampsville, Utica, Canandaigua, Oswego, Cooperstown, Ithaca, and Lyons, among other cities. Call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.